What are personas?
Personas are synthesised from a series of ethnographic interviews with real people, then captured in 1-2 page descriptions that include behaviour patterns, goals, skills, attitudes, and environment, with a few fictional personal details to bring the persona to life.
For each product, or sometimes for each set of tools within a product, there is a small set of personas, one of whom is the primary focus for the design. In the case of enterprise products that touch multiple roles, you may have several primary personas who each get a unique interface.
A good persona description is not a list of tasks or duties; it’s a narrative that describes the flow of someone’s day, as well as their skills, attitudes, environment, and goals. A persona answers critical questions that a job description or task list doesn’t, such as:
Which pieces of information are required at what points in the day? Do users focus on one thing at a time, carrying it through to completion, or are there a lot of interruptions? Why are they using this product in the first place?
Why do we need them?
To ground design in reality by forcing us to consider the goals, behaviours, and pain points of the people affected by our design decisions.
Unlike marketing personas based on demographics or marketability, design personas describe how someone accomplishes goals.
More reading: https://articles.uie.com/perfecting_personas/
How to create them?
Source: https://methods.18f.gov/decide/personas/ (more reading in the link)
- Gather research from earlier activities like contextual inquiry or stakeholder interviews
- You can create placeholder personas without research to teach user-centered thinking, but because they’re effectively stereotypes, avoid using them for implementable design decisions.
- Create a set of user archetypes based on how you believe people will use your solution.
- Analyze your records for patterns as they relate to user archetypes. Specifically note frequently observed goals, motivations, behaviours, and pain points.
- Pair recurring goals, behaviours, and pain points with archetypes. Give each archetype a name and a fictional account of their day.